last updated August 16, 2021
1. What is a Master Plan and how is it relevant to my life in the Village?
A Master Plan is a comprehensive document that serves as a roadmap, intended to guide the physical, economic, and social development of a municipality. The Plan is composed of goals, objectives, and recommendations that are designed to achieve a town’s shared vision and guide future policy decisions.
A Master Plan can address a wide range of topics and/or geographic areas of importance to residents and other stakeholders. It can provide an overall vision for a place and identify key priorities and strategies toward achieving the vision. It can provide direction in terms of investing in transportation improvements and public facilities, changing zoning regulations, protecting ecologically-sensitive areas, or becoming more environmentally sustainable. Concept plans and other visuals within a master plan can demonstrate ideas and hoped-for outcomes.
The Master Plan is also the basis for a municipality’s zoning regulations. In New Jersey, all municipalities are required to have a master plan and to “reexamine” it at least every 10 years. The reexamination process can represent a stepping stone for updating or creating a new master plan. However, the resulting Reexamination Report itself does not constitute the actual updated or new master plan.
The Village Council and administration use the Master Plan to prioritize the direction of policy as well as to strategize the best use of time and resources. The Council will use the Master Plan when making decisions about new laws and ordinances as well as budgets and spending. These decisions should be consistent with the Master Plan’s goals and objectives and should be designed to effectuate the Master Plan’s recommendations.
The Planning Board and Board of Adjustment refer to the Master Plan when making decisions on development applications as any new development should be consistent with the Village’s land use goals and objectives as well as the recommendations of the Land Use Element in particular.
2. How does Our Village Our Future interact with the new Master Plan?
Our Village Our Future was the first step of the two-step process. The goal of Our Village Our Future, adopted in October 2020, was to implement a community-wide visioning process that reached out to a broad range of the Village residents as well as other stakeholders (e.g. businesses and institutions). An extensive outreach process was conducted, and its results were incorporated into the Our Village Our Future Plan. For a further breakdown of the outreach process, see the Village Voices page.
3. How will the final Master Plan document be organized?
A Master Plan is organized into sections called “Elements.” Each Element includes an evaluation of conditions and guiding principals to plan for the future. In addition to the Village’s Housing Element and Fair Share Plan that was recently prepared by others, the Village of Ridgewood’s new Master Plan will consist of the following Elements:
- Land Use Element, including Village-wide Goals and Objectives
- Circulation Element
- Open Space and Recreation Element
- Downtown / Economic Development Element
- Sustainability Element
- Community Facilities Element
- Historic Preservation Element
- Utilities Element
- Recycling Element
4. Have there been previous Master Plans adopted?
Yes! The Village has a long history of preparing and adopting Master Plans and Master Plan Elements. Our Village Our Future compiled a timeline of all the major Master Plan-related actions taken by the village.
5. Why does the Village need to prepare a new Master Plan? Has the Village “reexamined” its Master Plan yet?
Although there are certain parts of the Village’s Master Plan that have been updated more recently, the core sections of the Master Plan date back to 1983. A lot has changed since that time. The Village did “reexamine” its master plan in 2016, which resulted in a Master Plan Reexamination Report.
The goal of this process is to create a single, user-friendly document with all the up-to-date Plan Elements conveniently located in one place.
6. How can I stay informed about this process?
This website will be the central public portal of information for this initiative. Next, make sure to sign up to receive updates when a new post is added to the page. Look for the phrase “Receive E-mail Updates” on the site and follow the instructions.
The Village’s website and social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter) as well as the Master Plan’s dedicated Instagram page, will feature important dates and milestones in the process, providing links to more details as they arise.
Our next public meeting will be in January, where we will be presenting and discussing an initial draft of the document. We strongly encourage you to attend and voice your comments. Additional information regarding time and location is forthcoming so don’t forget to check back often!
7. What if I have specific questions about the process?
An online form is available on the Contact page for residents and other interested members of the community to ask additional questions about or offer suggestions for this visioning process. As the visioning process moves ahead, there will be more formal opportunities to participate in the visioning process through workshops, surveys, and other methods.
8. What if I or one of my neighbors is unable to access information online?
Any important announcements will be posted in the main lobby of Village Hall.
9. What is the timeline for completing this process?
We are anticipating a final draft to be presented at a Planning Board meeting in April 2022. Check back often for updates!
10. Who is leading this initiative?
This initiative is being guided by the Master Plan Subcommittee of the Planning Board, with support from the Village Council. Through a request for proposals and interview process, the Master Plan Subcommittee and the Planning Board recommended the firm Heyer, Gruel & Associates (HGA) along with NV5, Inc. (the firm responsible for the Visioning Process) to lead this process and develop the comprehensive Master Plan. The HGA / NV5 Team has extensive experience throughout the State and region with developing comprehensive Master Plans.
Composition of the Master Plan Subcommittee:
- Richard Joel, Planning Board Chair
- Melanie Hooban
- Susan Knudsen, Mayor
- Dianne O’Brien
- John Barree, AICP, PP Project Manager
- McKinley Mertz, AICP, PP
- Annette Schultz, AICP PP
- Rachana Sheth, AICP, PP
Additionally, the Land Conservancy of New Jersey will be preparing the Village’s Open Space and Recreation Plan Element.
For the FAQ page related to the Phase I Our Village Our Future visioning process, please click HERE.